All You Need To Know About Patent Rights In The US


You must have heard about a brand-new invention being patented, mainly conducted to inspire individuals to create innovations for society’s overall well-being. Moreover, this method is known as patent rights, granted to the creator of the discovery. Patent rights are a critical part of intellectual property law and create sovereign authority for the owner. In this article, we will discuss what patent rights are and how to apply for one.  

What Are Patent Rights?

Patent rights are the process of granting property rights by a sovereign authority to an inventor. Moreover, these right grants the inventor exclusive rights to the patented procedures, designs, or inventions for a designated period, along with the exchange for a comprehensive invention disclosure. These kinds of rights fall under the category of incorporeal rights under I.P. law.   

In essence, patents give certain rights that allow doing any patented work inside its production timescale to others in exclusive functions. The Congress of the United States has passed the Patent Act of the fiftieth Chapter of the Code Title §§ via the Constitutional mandate for inventors. The aim of this is to always give limited time to their findings (Section 1(c8) of Article I, Section 8).  

Granting exclusive rights to the inventor is done to spark a personal interest and devotion to investment in discovering creative and helpful inventions for ordinary people. Meanwhile, patent owners surrender an immediate disclosure of the patented work to participate in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) scheme; upon exploring the expired patent period, the work that the patent was protecting will enter the public sphere.  

Critical Facts about Patent Rights

  • Patent rights grant property rights by a sovereign authority to an inventor.   
  • A patent gives the inventor exclusive rights to a patented process, design, or invention for a certain period. This is in exchange for a complete disclosure of the invention.   
  • In 2018, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued its ten-millionth patent.   
  • Utility patents are the most common patent that is issued in the U.S. This accounts for 90% of all issued patents.   
  • Utility and plant patents are usually granted for a time of 20 years. However, a design patent is granted for 14 to 15 years, depending on the filing period.   

Types of Patents in the U.S

Types of Patents in the U.S

There are three main kinds of patents available in the United States. These include utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. Each has its specifics and time. Let us explore these three in detail.   

Utility Patent

Utility patents or patents for inventions are issued as legal protection to individuals who tend to invent a new and valuable procedure. This could include an article for manufacturing, a machine, or a composition of matter.   

This kind of patent rights is the most common, with more than 90% of patents issued by the U.S. government associated with the same. Moreover, a utility patent tends to last for 20 years from the date of filing till the maintenance fee is paid on time. Maintenance fees are surcharges applied to utility patent applications filed after 12 December 1980.   

Design Patents

Design patents are issued for manufactured products’ original, new, and ornamental designs. Moreover, design patents tend to protect a product’s design or look. They require invention to which the design belongs to be completely original.   

Moreover, design patents tend to last 15 years if the application has been filed on or after 13 May 2015. If you’re an applicant who has filed for a design patent before this date, it will last for 14 years from the filing date. However, maintenance fees are not applicable in this patent.   

Plant Patents

Plant patents are a unique type of patent rights. This right is granted to anyone who produces, discovers, and invents a new kind of plant capable of reproduction. Similarly, this right is given 20 years from the filing date, and no maintenance fees apply.   

More About Patent Rights

Creating a monopoly in the form of an exclusive patent allowance acts as a stimulant for new products without concern for infringement. For instance, a large drug maker can spend two-digit amounts on research and production. The pharmaceutical companies will be unable to protect their drugs and medicines from infringement, and other companies will be able to replicate the products after spending billions on research and development.   

Hence, the inventions and research and development belong to these organizations, and they are protected by patent legislation. It is this facilitation that grants the ability to determine maximum profit. Moreover, patents, in this situation, represent an excellent statement for the organizations that show their competence in this field.  

How to Apply for Patent Rights?

How to Apply for Patent Rights?

Before you apply for the formal application method, you should study the Patent and Trademark database. This ensures that this is the only individual who has carried out a patent for a similar work to yours. To apply for a patent, your invention needs to differ from every other similar invention used for a patent. Moreover, when you have applied for a second patent on a brand-new layout of your unique invention, it must have an advanced design compared to the preceding to be granted patent rights.   

As an applicant, you should keep data on the layout method and the movements taken to grow a brand-new invention. Enforcement of the patent is up to you and who is using it.   

To apply for a patent within the U.S., you need to post unique files and pay the related costs. Written documents will include drawings, descriptions, and claims of the object that requires a patent. Moreover, a formal oath or statement to verify the authenticity of the invention or development of a present invention must be signed and submitted using you (who is the inventor).   

After this process is finished, you must pay the patent application costs. Then, the application is reviewed by the stated authorities. During this, the application can either be reviewed or denied.  

Statistics of Patent Rights in the U.S

Statistics of Patent Rights in the U.S

The USPTO has received more than 500,000 applications for patents annually. Amongst them, only 300,000 of these applications are granted. Moreover, the agency had over 14,000 employees in 2023. Amongst whom 60% have been patent examiners while the remaining worked in legal and technical fronts.   

In 2018, the USPTO was noted to issue its ten-millionth patent. Various patent issues go to organizations within the technology industry. For instance, Apple was granted 2,285 in 2022. On the other hand, Microsoft and Google were also provided with patents. However, I.B.M. has typically received patent rights more than any other organization in the U.S. So, I.B.M. has been granted 8,000 patents in 2021 alone.   

Frequently Asked Questions of Patent Rights

Here are some frequently asked questions related to patents and their associated rights.   

What Does Patent Mean?

A patent is a legal right to an innovation given to an individual or entity without interference from others. This right applies whether they wish to replicate, use, or sell the innovation. Moreover, patents are granted by governing authorities and have a time frame, generally 20 years.

What Are Examples of Patents?

Some of the patented inventions we use daily include telephone, dishwasher, and lightbulb.

How Many Years Does Patent Rights Last?

Generally, patent rights tend to last between 14 to 15 years. During these years, the owner has the exclusive rights towards their patented work.

Final Words

Now, you have a fair idea regarding the concept of patent rights under intellectual property rights. So, if you have a unique invention, it is vital that you effectively register them in your nearest USPTO for acquiring a patent right on the invention. Moreover, also ensure that you are taking advice from experienced intellectual property lawyers regarding the ways you can streamline the patent grant process.

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